Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Previous posting is about Mother Earth, now lets move to Mother Land! (a.k.a. Malaysia)

2 major stories for 2013:

1) AGM
MCF’s AGM this year is a very interesting affair when President post is being contested by Zuhri. There are lots of campaigns, manouevres, dramas, reports etc. Interesting! How i wished Malaysian chess performance could be as interesting as MCF’s AGM.

Still for year 2014, all the best MCF!

2) Aron Teh
Virtually unknown in January 2013, Aron Teh is now a feared name in December 2013. National Champion, Malaysia Master Champion and strings of fine performance in couple of international a result in January 2013 his rating is 1949 and now his rating is 2272...a massive increase of 323 in a year time... WOW! If he continued to improve like this, by end of next year his rating will be almost 2600!

(But is he really that strong? I am not sure since he never become Malaysian Junior Champion and ratings can be inflate by entering selective tournaments so said the wise man of chess...and his opening repertoire is a bit suspect too...hmm.)

No...just kidding Aron Teh. You are a strong player (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise) and if there is such a thing as a 2013 Malaysia Chess Player of the is yours definitely!

All the best NM Aron Teh!

Other interesting stories are
Malaysian chess team won a medal in SEA games.
This achievement, just like that half empty/ half full glass, bring different meaning to different people. Half full because we have a medal...half empty because we could increase the chances of more medals with better strategy.

Still we have won something here. I consider this achievement , just like that Appolo 13 flight, as MCF’s “successful failure”.

Cerdik Catur introduce CCR
Frustrated in seeing so many red tapes for organizer to use National Rating in their tournament, NM Fadli takes the matter into his own hand by introducing CCR (Cerdik Catur Rating). Initially i am a bit sceptical but now i am full of praise to Fadli. He walk the talk! 

...and so far CCR is doing quite well too!

All the best Fadli!

Li Tian breached 2300 barrier.
Now without PMR to distract him, can Li Tian say breach 2400 in year 2014?

All the best Li Tian!

Beginning 2013 Najib got many plans for DATCC but somehow towards end of 2013, Najib is no longer in charge with DATCC.

What really happened here? No wonder there is almost no news about chess activities held at DATCC.

Still for 2014, all the best DATCC!


Sunday, December 22, 2013


Its that time of the year again...time to reflect what a year 2013 was to chess of Earth , Malaysia, Terengganu and Ilham (myself)...Hmm, the acronym of these 4 doesn't sounds good (E.M.T.I), since its rhymes with empty...Caissa! are you tried to tell me something here?

Lets begin with 2013: Mother Earth!

I shall remember 2013 with 5 events. Not under particular order these events are:

1. Carlsen become a World Champion!
Finally!...I was seriously consider posted an article about this under titled "MC hammered Anand"...words play based from that 90's rapper, MC Hammer. MC here is ofcourse referring to Magnus Carlsen and hammer is a favourite weapon of Thor, superhero that is always been associate with Carlsen....and i intended to close the articls with MC Hammer's famous song ( I imagined Carlsen singing 'You can't touch this!' to his fellow chess rivals while holding World Champion trophy)

You can't touch this!...
My, my, my moves hits him so hard
Makes me say "Oh my Lord"
Thank you for blessing me
With a mind to rhyme and two hype hands...

but that posting is not meant to be...procrastination got better of me! :)

2. Cheating in chess.
  • A player who is playing amazing chess has been subjected to details search, suspect of cheating.
  • Moral of the story: Don't play chess 400 points above your actual rating and if you do, make sure you wear a nice pair of stocking.
  • However, it is generally acceptable to play chess 400 points below our strength. 
  • Chess is opposite to football and other sports where in football, suspicious is if you play way below your strength (you might fix the game) chess it is suspicious if you play way above your strength. 

3. The emerging of GM Wei Yi
  • GM at 13...youngest player to breach 2600...increase his ratings by 200 elo in slightly over a year...i foresee him as a future star and maybe the one to challenge MC in the future.
  • ...and he played aggressive chess too! i have a theory that World Chess Champion will most likely be defeated by a younger player with opposite playing style...Smyslov lost to Tal...Tal lost to Petrosian...Petrosian lost to Spassky...Spassky lost to Fischer...Karpov lost to Kasparov...Kasparov lost to Kramnik...Kramnik lost to Anand...Anand lost to MC. 
  • See my points! As such i have a feeling that player that will beat Carlsen is someone who is young and play aggressive. I predicted GM Wei Yi will be serious challenger to MC five years from now. 
  • or maybe it will be me! ... since i played aggressive chess too...but damn it!, i cannot since i am two years older than Carlsen :(

4. Kasparov is eyeing for chess Presidency
  • I supported Kasparov not so much because i believe in Kasparov will do a better job ( after all, looks at PCA and GMA) but i believed FIDE, like MCF too, need a breath of fresh air.

5. Tania Sachdev is a commentator for Anand vs Carlsen Match.
  • Exactly the reasons why i left office at 5.45 sharp, brave heavy traffics and occassional KL's evening storm just to watch Anand vs Carlsen match at the comfort of my house.
  • Still remember till today her soft voice commenting the game... :)   


Monday, October 7, 2013


1.Both Tournament Director (lets call him Mr O) and Chief Arbiter (lets call him Mr B) have been working together for a long time...yes, occasionally there are problem but they could resolve it for the benefits of the chess participants.

2.But now TD and Chief Arbiter have a dispute on last round pairing...and worst, both have a valid argument to support their points.

3.The dispute went on unresolved...and now it has passed the schedule last round...Chief Arbiter then decided not to issue last round pairing...all players are angry and restless now.

4.But both TD and Chief Arbiter just don’t care. Both are in fact not talking to each other! It is what we chess player call it, ‘Stalemate’.

5.Stalemate has been going on for 6 hours...and now the time for prize giving ceremony is about to start. Prize winners are very worried since they have a flight to catch and maybe they will not get back their hard earned money. 

6. Tik Tok Tik Tok...will this be a worst tournament ever?

1.Both President (Obama) and House Speaker (Boehner) have been working together for a long time...yes, occasionally there are problem but they could resolve it for the benefits of the US Citizen.

2.But now Obama and Boehner have a dispute on Health Care benefit...and worst, both have a valid argument to support their points.

3.The dispute went on unresolved...and now it has passed the deadline and leads to Government standstill...everybody is restless now.

4.But both Obama and Boehner are not talking to each other! It is what press call it ‘Government Shutdown’.

5.Shutdown has been going on for 6 days...and now the deadline for US Government to pay their debtors are looming ahead.  Markets are now very worried because should US Government default, the effect will be worse than subprime crisis few years back. 

6. Tik Tok Tik Tok...will this be a worst financial crisis ever?

Above drama is still on going as at now at Washington DC...Obama blamed Boehner for being selfish...Boehner blamed Obama for refuse to sit down and discuss...lets see who blink first.

By the way US Government needs to pay their debt obligation by 17 October 2013, if not then US Government can be considered as a bankrupt nation.

Well, lets grab a soda (extra large!)... and popcorn (with caramel!)... and see how this drama unfold in real time!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Everybody wants to be a professional in their own chosen field. Footballer wants to be a professional footballer, hair stylist wants to be a professional hair stylist...even killer (assassin) also wants to be known as professional killer (who wants to be known as amateur killer?) because being professional  in chosen field means excellence quality, reliable, superior and etcetera. Where as amateur portray incompetent, unreliable, inferior workmanship etc.

Hence everybody wants to be a professional or wants a service of professional. 

Ask ourselves whether we want an amateur doctor or professional doctor to perform our heart surgery. The answer is obvious.

But funny when it comes to chess, only few wants to be a professional chess player.  Only few wants to devote one's life to chess and sadly many that did that...regret it after few years.

Reason is crystal clear...minus world’s top 20 is just not here.

Not before, not now and most probably not in the future too...sad.

All this talks reminds me of GM Ken Rogoff, US chess player in 1970’s, at 15, drop out from high school to be a full time chess player. He went to Yugoslavia in order to improve himself further (even though at that time he already among strongest chess player in USA after Fischer and easily in the world’s top 40) but suddenly he totally abandoned chess, studied Economics and now he is a world famous Economic Professor. He is among rare few that correctly predicted US subprime financial crisis few years back.

He said it is not easy to leave chess because chess is very addictive. (Totally agreed)...and once he has decided to leave chess, he totally leave chess.

And now according to him, he always received letters from World Top chess players seeking advice on how to quit chess...(Wonder who?)

But what he did is an extreme decision (Totally abandoned chess). I cannot do that...

So i guess for me maybe it is not a bad idea to be an amateur player, like most of people around me...average in chess, average in life.

Well for me, I used to dream of being a chess professional (Ok, please don’t laugh) myself because i love chess so much...i love to play chess, i love to be surrounded by chess players, i love to study chess, The ‘Kedai Aziz’ simple words i just went crazy over chess. Yeah, ‘addict’ is just the correct word to describe my relationship with chess and at that time i am just willing to lead a very frugal lifestyle just as long as i could satisfy my ‘addiction’.

Once I even seriously consider to drop out from University so that i could be a chess pro (crazy, right?) but i did not dare to do that (... and not because of fear about my future but more towards fear to my father’s backlash)

Now fast forward twenty years to 2013, here i am... chess amateur... and to be frank i like my status now since i could enjoy the benefits of both worlds....I am enjoying a stable income from work and enjoying pleasure of playing chess during weekend or as and when i feel like playing.

Heaven...! :)

But amateur chess is not all rosy...nowadays amateur chess is not without its problems or pitfalls...when we are playing terribly (we are selling our game), when our phone rang during game (we throw away game) and should we are playing fantastically (we are cheating).

Hmm, not easy to be an amateur chess player....

Saturday, September 28, 2013



Above four letter word is the best way to explain my feeling now.

I have planned to take part in today's Royal Selangor Club Chess Tournament organized by Jax Tham, S Balendran, Hamid Majid and few others.

I have SMSed Hamid to register myself for this event and just cannot wait to use this tournament to try out my new 'Professional' approach to chess.

Okay, before this, my approach to chess tournament is very amateur...i will normally stay until 3am playing blitz online to 'prepare' my self. As a result i will normally wake up late, skip breakfast and played first few rounds with music coming from my stomach (Luckily there is no rule that stated your stomach make a sound, you lose!...or maybe not yet) 

The good thing (maybe only good thing) about this amateurish approach is i have insurance against bad outing ( Oh, i cannot think, i slept at 3 last night!) and the right to brag on good outing ( i am sleepy but still manage to do well!)

Anyway after watching 'RUSH', a very good film about Formula One rivalry between James Hunt (Flamboyant, Playboy, Party Animal...imagine Tal, you'll get the picture) and Niki Lauda (Serious, Professional, Family Man...imagine Botvinnik, you'll get the picture) i was just totally impressed with Niki's approach to his sport and i have decided i should do the same with my chess.

So few days ago I have come up with new training regime to overcome my chess 'fear/phobia', do the victory visualization to boast confidence and no, no more blitz party till i got chess drunk...and yes, last night i slept at 10 pm...I wake up fresh at 6am. Thank you!

Man planned...
...but just now when i entered KL there are road blocks everywhere (There is a big marathon event today with finishing line at Dataran Merdeka). Panic, i called Hamid but he did not answer my call. I tried several alternative road but all roads to Dataran are closed. Air tight closed!

I tried calling Hamid again and this time he answered informing that there will be a first round delay to 10am.

Should i wait or should i just withdraw my participant?

There is no guarantee that the roadblock will be off before 10am and furthermore i am no longer in the right frame of mind (my calmness has been replace with anger). My professional instinct say that i should give this tournament a pass...

Finally i reached out my handphone and texted Hamid and informed him that i withdrawn from the event and apologized for the inconvenience.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


1. It is simple. After few phone calls and SMSes and we already manage to assemble a team for a dangerous win Best State Team in Merdeka Rapid!
·         First Board        Mohd Arshad
·         Second Board    Nor Ilhamuddin
·         Third Board       Rahim Ramli
·         Fourth Board     Fairul Yusoff   

2. Based on our average chess rating, we are seeded number 32 out of 104 teams. Not bad but I guess we could be seeded higher if seeding is based on age average…and definitely will be in top ten should it is based from waistline average!

3. We know the odds stacked heavily against us. After all we are like those bunch of retired killers/soldiers in The Expendables film, stood against active, fit, lean mean professionals. At 39 years old, I am the youngest, the baby boy of the team. We know it will be difficult but we also damn sure we are going to have a lot of fun here.

4. Other than chess skills, each player got their own unique skills and duties for the mission to win best State Team:

  • Mohd Arshad a cameraman and finder of best place to eat." To enjoy good food, just follow me" For record his favourite restaurants are  Nando's or Chicken Rice Shop.

  • Rahim the mathematic professor, he contribute by giving his mathematical analysis/targets on the team’s performance. "We should got at least 12 points from first day to be among the contenders" etc. For Record we scored 11.5 from first day but manage to recover the lost ground on second day by beating two teams 4-0, drawing one and lost one to Coup de Grace.

  • Fairul the motivator, contributed by always giving the optimistic view of the situation when everything seems bleak. " Don't worry. I will contribute 9 points and we should be State Champ" etc. For record he really scored 9 points...but 9 terbaliklah (6 points)! :)

I am in charge to buy morning breakfast and by virtue of being the only player with a pen, I am unofficially the team captain with duty to write down the player's name and signed the result. After few rounds I ‘delegate’ the duty to Mohd Arshad since being on Board 1, he stood the nearest to the Result Sheet.

Still if you asked me who is the captain? I will say he is Rahim...the most respectable player/ person in the team.

5. Our first round opponent is a Collin Madhavan’s junior team. Before the start of game, Collin said please be gentle with his boys. I replied ‘No, the boys should be gentle when playing against old uncle like us” Anyway, for record we managed to beat them 4-0.

6. In second round we face Philippine Team and we lost 0-4. Hmm, our performance is just like Malaysian Team at Olympiad, beat weak team 4-0 before being whitewashed by stronger team 4-0.

7. But still, to my curious (and delight), for most the rounds when we played we always facing All Ladies Team…whether they are in front of our table…or next to our table…always FACING them! Pairings done in Heaven...Hmm, God works in mysterious way!

8. After the end of the round 8, we have surprised even ourselves when we got 11 points and we ARE the best state team at that time. Mission almost accomplished and how we wished Merdeka Rapid is played over just 8 rounds. 

Even mighty Penang stood at 10 points. At the Hotel Lobby I asked Chuin Hong how is his team (Penang) doing? Chuin Hong then replied ‘We are now 10 points, just like you guys (Terengganu).

I then smiled and replied “I am sorry but we are not 10 points, we are 11!”

Ha! Ha!

9. Still at the end of the day, Penang (and Penang CLOBA) beat his last round opponent while we lost to Mok’s Coup de Grace. Penang entitled for one of those Best Malaysian prize while Penang CLOBA snatched the Best State Team.

Looks like Penang, sorry…Penangs, are the ones who have the last laugh…Grrrrr! :(

10. All things considered, it is a good outing for us. Each players contributed between 5 and 6 points out of 9 rounds…there is no star and no failure in the team and we have performed better than expectation.

Each players got their very own moment in the sun…Arshad, when he manage to beat Max…Rahim, when he manage to draw with Jamals Henry from Jakarta and drew with Kamaluddin Yusof …Fairul Yusof, when he beat NM Kamal Ariffin and drew with WIM Upi Tamin. Me? I guess, my moment in the sun is when I beat RED FM* Ooi Chern Eei (with indirect help from one angel...)

Yeah, we have our moment of failure too but I guess it is too few to mentions.

11. Terengganu will send a team to Sabah next month but I will not be in the team (and Rahim too)…I am not sure who will be playing but looks like the line up will be Syazwan, Arshad, Fairul and Suhaidi.

Take this opportunity to wish you guys all the best!

*Movie buff will know that RED here stands for "Retired, Extremely Dangerous."